Resident mouse peritoneal macrophages when exposed to zymosan during the first day of cell culture synthesize and secrete large amounts of prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) and leukotriene C4 (LTC4), the respective products of cyclo-oxygenase- and 5-lipoxygenase-catalysed oxygenations of arachidonic acid. Under these conditions of cell stimulation only small amounts of hydroxyeicosatetraenoic acids (HETEs) are concomitantly produced. However, exogenously added arachidonic acid is metabolized to large amounts of 12- and 15-HETE and only relatively small amounts of PGE2. No LTC4 is formed under these conditions. In contrast, resident mouse peritoneal macrophages in cell culture for 4 days synthesized less PGE2 and LTC4 when exposed to zymosan. However, these macrophage populations continue to synthesize 12-HETE from exogenously added arachidonic acid. Zymosan induced the secretion of a lysosomal enzyme, N-acetyl-beta-glucosaminidase, equally in both 1- and 4-day cultures. Both 12- and 15-hydroperoxyeicosatetraenoic acids (HPETEs), the precursors of 12- and 15-HETE, were found to be irreversible inhibitors of the cyclo-oxygenase pathway and reversible inhibitors of the 5-lipoxygenase pathway in macrophages. 15-HETE were found to be reversible inhibitors of both pathways. Thus the oxidation of arachidonic oxidation of arachidonic acid to both prostaglandins and leukotrienes may be under intracellular regulation by products of 12- and 15-lipoxygenases.

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